WYNANTSKILL, N.Y. - Route 150 in Wynantskill has reopened after fire crews spent hours battling flames at a popular restaurant.
The Italian restaurant Villa Valenti caught fire shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday, and it took 12 fire departments and over 100 firefighters to battle the blaze.
The restaurant is a total loss.
All morning long, community members stopped by taking pictures and sharing their memories, including Victoria Niedbalec and Bree Marano.
"She really loved the place," said Niedbalec. "Everyone did. It's unfortunate that is happened."
Niedbalec is talking about the owner of Villa Valenti's, who is also her landlord and former boss.
"I used to make meatballs with her every Wednesday and I would go over and make meatballs," she continued.
She said the owner is staying strong and has had a tremendous amount of support from the community.
Wynantskill Fire Chief James Burt said the fire started in the basement, but by the time crews arrived on scene the flames had already spread to the back of the building.
Firefighters attempted to get into the basement and ground floor, but they had to evacuate because of unsafe conditions. They also believed the fire was knocked down at one point, but it flared up again multiple times.
Route 150 was completely shut down while crews worked the fire, and at least three ladder trucks were used to fight the fire from above.
It took crews a couple hours to knock down the flames.
Weather conditions caused complications as they battled the fire. Wind gusts made it difficult for crews to contain the fire as the flames spread throughout the wooden building. Crews also had trouble getting water from fire hydrants because of low water pressure.
Wynantskill Assistant Fire Chief Jay Wilson said they will be working all day on Wednesday to try and figure out what exactly happened here.
"We won't know anything until we take it apart and look at it piece by piece," said Wilson.
There were no reported injuries.
A fundraising website has been set up to held Villa Valenti.
341 Northern Blvd., Albany, NY 12204
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